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Bloustein School Graduate Student Guide

This is a guide to library and research resources for graduate students in planning and public policy.

GIS for Bloustein Students

The following page goes over some of the GIS information from the GIS: Geographic Information Systems Research Guide. Check out the full GIS guide for more details and helpful information. 

A great resources for GIS information is Rutgers' GIS specialist, Susan Oldenburg

Reach out for GIS assistance at

Request assistance using this GIS-Help form

GIS Applications

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide powerful applications, software tools and software as a service platforms for the manipulation and analysis of spatial data, and making maps into dynamic objects.  While services like Google Earth and Google Maps bring GIS capabilities to everyone, there are robust, heavy-hitting applications like ArcGIS and QGIS that include extensive data analysis and visualization tools for researchers across a wide variety of domains. There are many Geographic Information Systems (GIS) available for use.  More than can be listed here.  Support is offered for all with a focus on those systems listed below.  

ESRI ArcGIS software products include ArcMap, ArcPro, ArcGIS Online and Story Maps. The university has a site license for this software.  It is available in most Rutgers computing labs and through the Virtual Computer Labs.  See the university software portal for information regarding individual and departmental access and licenses.  Click HERE for instructions to create your account.

QGIS is a leading and robust open source GIS software.  It has a large and active community of support.

Google Maps is a robust GIS best used for navigation and light mapping.

Google Earth and Google Earth Pro present high resolution satellite data, aerial imagery and more.

Open Street Map is an open source project to create a free editable map of the world.  It is supported by a large and active community.


Rutgers Libraries: GIS databases

Workshop Recordings

Please find recordings of previously held workshop sessions here:

GIS Basics located in the Rutgers Kaltura Mediaspace

IPUMS NHGIS, International, GeoMarker, and Terra at the Rutgers Kaltura Mediaspace

ArcGIS Tutorials and Training Resources

These links will help you get started with ArcGIS.   The Libraries offer workshops and individual consultations. There are courses are available through the Office of Continuing Education of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (for a fee).

Official ESRI ArcGIS Training Resources
A regularly updated collection of ArcGIS trainings offered online.  ESRI provides both video and traditional tutorial guides as well as MOOCs and web courses.  The topics range in complexity, from those designed for beginners for the suite of applications, to more advanced subjects like analytics, data management, python scripting, creating web-based geo-applications and StoryMaps.

GIS Dictionary
Defines all acronyms and terminology used in ESRI ArcGIS applications as well as other GISs.  It is a useful tool for learning standard GIS terminology.

A youtube channel with instructional videos covering ArcGIS, Google Earth, QGIS and other GIS related topics.

Harvard University's GIS Videos
Recordings of workshops at Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis. 

iSchool@Syracuse Article
This article offers information about some of the basic concepts of GIS and how librarians can help with your GIS data.


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